January 17, 2021

God’s Plan For Us

Passage: Romans 8:22-30

A young boy travelling by plane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor.  The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper and the professor thought he would have some fun with the youngster.  "Young man", said the professor, "If you can tell me something God can do, I"ll give you a big, shiny apple."  The boy thought for a moment and then replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can’t do, I"ll give you a whole barrel of apples!"  Do we unconditionally believe the words of our text, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”?  Because my friends, there are those who call themselves God's children who ask questions from the depth of despair.  After a committal service, a young man approached me with agitation in his voice.  He said, “You ministers that always speak soft words at funerals, you don't know what you're talking about.  My wife died in a car crash just 2 weeks after we got married.  Explain to me what God was thinking.  Tell me what you think His plan for my life is.”  All I could say to that young man was that God far more than anyone else understood his heartbreak and anger.  After a lengthy conversation he broke out in tears and as I prayed with him peace came into his heart.  He then said, “I still don't know God's plan for me.”  I responded, “Neither do I, but wait on God as He will make it known to you.”  My dear friends, do we have peace in our hearts about where we are heading?  Do we live in full assurance about God's plans for us as we find it in Jeremiah 29: 11? – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  One of the greatest chapters written in the bible is Romans 8.  St Paul in this chapter addressed all the hardships and injustices his readers experienced in their lives.  Some must have thought, “Since I turned my life over to Jesus, it's like all things are going against me.”  Can we all appreciate what Paul wrote about before he mentioned, “...in all things God works for the good...”?  He talked about the whole creation that has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth...and he talked about God's children who have the first fruits of the Spirit who groan inwardly.  That hasn't change too much from the time of St. Paul.  We are groaning each time my friends when we learn of another tragedy or another incident that affected so many lives.  A tragedy that shook our nation was the bus crash of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.  It wasn't just Humboldt that mourned the loss of young lives, but communities all acro9ss Canada.  But...with the apostle Paul, we see the bigger picture...the picture where God has written over everything in the blood of His Son – “You are more than conquerors in my Son, Jesus Christ.”  You see, after everything that happens in this world from the beginning to the end,  there is God's plan that will bring everything to completion.

From our reading in Romans 8: 22-30 we see that in God's plan 1 We Are Molded.  Paul says in verse 23, “We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”  What the apostle wanted to bring across to the Romans and all believers over ages was, “We all are in God's mold.  There is so much He still has to work on in our lives to form us until the time when we will be perfect.”  And then Paul used the words, “...the redemption of our bodies.”  The present standard of our lives as much as we might like it , doesn't meet God's standards.  Therefore He would sometimes allow things to happen to bring us to a deeper spiritual level.  And quite often we just can't comprehend why He needs to do that.  But then, we grasp what we read in another chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans – chapter 9: 21, “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”  By God's grace we come to an understanding that God will mold us into something better.  There was a young woman who was pretty on the outside, but her heart was filled with everything bad.  She had an unfortunate car accident and her face was disfigured.  She turned over her life to Jesus and one day as she addressed a group of students in school she said, “First God made me pretty, but then He decided to make me beautiful.  It's what's in my heart that's beautiful.”   You know, we never want to think of God as the One Who sits behind bad things happening to people.  But, when He allows things to happen, there is always the good He will bring from it.  There are beautiful words from the hymn, “Have Thine own way, Lord”, we have to take to heart –

“Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mould me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.”

In God's Plan 2 We Are Corrected.  We read these words in verse 30, “...those He called, He also justified...”   God had His plan brought to perfection to save us from eternal death.  That was when He sent His only Son to the world.  God wasn't going to see how the people He created in His image would end up in eternal condemnation.  No, His heart burned within Himself to justify us.  Justify in the Greek, “dikaiologo”, literally means “show to be right.”  God saw how wrong we were and in Jesus He showed us how to be right.  One of the most determining moments in a person's life is when you realize – I'm lost!  Not just lost like one who got on a wrong road in the country and has to do some driving around to find his way.  No, it's to be completely lost until Jesus comes to show you the path that leads to eternal blessedness in His presence.  I once met a man at a gas station who shared his life story with me.  He said, “I had everything any person could just dream about – a good bank balance, several properties, cars and you can name it.  But one day I came to the conclusion – those things are worthless, there is no future in any of them.  That realization came when I read an article in a magazine in a doctor's waiting room.  It really convicted me.   It took me two months to accept an invitation from a friend to go and worship with him.  That night I stayed after the service to see the pastor.  I told him I was lost, I had no direction.  He helped me to invite Jesus into my life.  That was the day when I found the best riches any person can ask for.”  My friends, how wonderful the grace of God is that He brought a greater insight to us.  That moment when we realized, “Everything I lived for was a big lie.  Now in Jesus I have purpose in life.”

From Romans 8: 30 we lastly see that 3 We Are Protected“...those He justified, He also glorified.”   What does it mean that we have been glorified by God?  Our place in heaven has been reserved for us.  Jesus went to prepare that place for us as He promised in John 14 and He will come back for us.  Because of this promise we can have the peace in our hearts that God will keep our lives secure for that moment when we will go and spend eternal life with Him.  There's nothing more prominent we can count on in this life – our investments might go bad, our health might not hold up, we can lose everything in a split second.  But, we will never lose our inheritance in heaven.  It's far more secure than what we can comprehend in our human minds.  Did you make sure you received the insurance policy to have your place in heaven?  That came to you the day God said to you, “My plan is to secure your life for eternity in my Son Jesus.  Will you accept Him into your heart?”  My friends, can we all comprehend that there is nothing in this world that can deprive us from the inheritance waiting for us in heaven?  Let's live life each day with the wonderful assurance – God's Plan For Us will come into perfection.